NASA’s Curiosity rover is providing plenty of data into what Mars may have been like in ancient times. The rover has recently discovered a clay cache.
Scientists believe that Mars was once a blue wet place. Just like here on Earth, we can find evidence of that watery past in the now-dry surface. So, the discovery of a clay cache hints to the existence of ancient water on the red planet.
Curiosity Mars Rover is currently exploring Mount Sharp to find evidence of ancient life on Mars.
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The rover has recently drilled two samples at rock targets called “Aberlady” and “Kilmarie”.
Drilling at a region of the Red Planet called the “clay-bearing unit” has revealed the highest amounts of clay minerals ever found during the mission, NASA has said.
Clay often forms in water. Water, in turn, means that Mars may have once supported life
“Other than proof that there was a significant amount of water once in Gale Crater, what these new findings mean for the region is still up for debate,” NASA said.
“It’s likely that the rocks in the area formed as layers of mud in ancient lakes – something Curiosity also found lower on Mount Sharp. Water interacted with sediment over time, leaving an abundance of clay in the rocks there.”
The rover’s mineralogy instrument, called CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy), provided the first analyses of rock samples drilled in the clay-bearing unit, NASA said.
Curiosity also took a break to watch some clouds. The rover used its black-and-white Navigation Cameras (Navcams) to snap images of drifting clouds on May 7 and May 12, 2019, sols 2400 and 2405. They’re likely water-ice clouds about 19 miles (31 kilometers) above the surface.